(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
A big 2nd half enabled the Hotshots to get win #2 in Philippine Cup
Heading into yesterday's game, Chito Victolero has said that he was aiming to be careful against the Kia Picanto, even saying that the Picanto has a new coach in Ricky Dandan and has a new system which, according to Victolero himself, what makes the Picanto a dangerous team and if they weren't careful, the Magnolia Hotshots would have gained the horrors of becoming the first team to lose to Kia this conference.
Fortunately, the Hotshots got their coach's message, loud and clear as Magnolia made sure that Kia was nowhere near upsetting them by cruising to a 124-77 victory- the biggest winning margin so far this season.
And here's how the Hotshots did it:
Big 2nd Half
To give credit to Ricky Dandan and his players, the Kia Picanto actually tied the score at 22 apiece at the end of the first quarter and even outscored Magnolia, 27-25 in the second quarter.
Then, things went south for the Picanto come the third quarter as Magnolia erupted for 34 points while limiting Kia to only 11 of their own. Things didn't get better in the fourth quarter as the Hotshots continued to pound on the points, totaling 43 points while limiting the Picanto to 17 points. When you're that careful against a winless team, you don't stop scoring until the final buzzer and that's what Magnolia did.
91 Points from Magnolia's Bench. Alone
The bench players of Chito Victolero actually outscored the ENTIRE Kia Picanto team, 91-77. In a game where Paul Lee only had 13 points while Mark Barroca had 4 points, Justin Melton led the way with 23 points while making 5 of his 6 attempts from the three-point line. Ian Sangalang added 21 points and 9 rebounds. Rookie Robert Herndon had 14 points to go along with 7 rebounds while Jio Jalalon, who made his season debut, had 11 points.
A Good Game Overall for Magnolia
If anything, Magnolia's dominating victory against a still winless team can be enough proof that the Hotshots are a better team now than they were during the previous teams. They shot better from the field, making 47% of their shots including a 40% outing from the three-point line. Defensively, the Hotshots stole the ball, 10 times, forced Kia to commit 25 turnovers while converting those turnovers into 37 points. They also outscored the Picanto, 30-5 in points off fast break opportunities.
Although it's only one game and it was against a winless team, teams will definitely look at Magnolia's performance in this particular game for scouting purposes. Why? Winning by that BIG margin can only be done by a team who can score and defend well. This serves as a warning to the other teams. They shouldn't take Magnolia for granted even though their stars are struggling.